What a beautiful day on the ocean.
Tuna fishing started off pretty slow. We had like 3 in the box by noon when we hooked up a single, and tried to turn it into a bait stop. I collar-hooked a live anchovy, and sent it down with a little lead under the stern of Shake N Bake. Nobody else hooked up this stop, but I kept paying out line.
The hookup happened like any other live bait tuna take. Spool starts spinning...wait for 3-4 seconds...engage lever drag....come tight...fish on!
Well, this fish didn't stop like most albies after a short run, it ran past my 50 yd topshot and well into the braid. Hmmm, drag set too light? NO. I had just reset it to nearly the max setting on the last fish.
I work the topshot back onto the reel a couple of times, just to see it go back off in a flash. Its runs were nearly vertical.
By this time, the boys are getting impatient looking at me pinned against the combing pads with my heavy bait rod bent fully over and calling me names <insert your favorite>. Why haven't you controlled that fish yet Dave???
All I could say is that I've got 12-13 pounds of drag on this fish, and it still is not under control. I didn't dare to go to full drag on the Avet MXL I was using, but I came close. I was using 30 pound hybrid flouro topshot, and prayed I did a good job on my terminal knot.
Clark let out a shreik when he saw color the first time, mumbling something about a 100+ pound Opah. I couldn't look over the side of the boat cuz my back was burning so bad by then. I have heard of Opah before, but was not familiar with them like he was.
One more run left and we got it to gaff. Clark stuck it, and I grabbed another gaff to stick it and heave it over the side.
Here we are at the dock in Ilwaco after off-loading all the tuna (btw, the tuna fishing was great on bait).
Clark and I trying to man handle this thing. Glad to have him on the boat with us yesterday. Heck of a fisherman.
After this photo, we put it (partially) in a large cooler and drove over to Pacific Salmon Charters to borrow their scale. A nice older gentleman let me weigh it (we gathered quite a crowd of onlookers and picture takers at the dock). 97.4 pounds on the electronic scale.
Looks like my buddy Bill Monroe might give this beautiful fish some press. We shall see.
Fresh Opah for lunch today. Mmmm.